JUNE GARDENING THOUGHTS!

IN THE GARDEN

Flower beds, shrubs, trees and vegetable gardens should also be getting at least one inch of water a week.

Water in the morning to avoid disease problems. Your plants in pots and hanging baskets need more frequent watering. Check soil daily. Frequent watering tends to wash nutrients out of the soil quickly, so fertilize regularly with an all purpose water soluble fertilizer. Follow label directions - more is not better. Or use a timed release fertilizer for a one time application.

It's still a good time to plant container grown trees, shrubs, groundcovers, perennials and annuals. Remember that newly planted plants need more regular watering than established plants.

Attract beneficial insects to your garden by planting a variety of flowering annuals and perennials to bloom over the entire growing season.

Prune and shape spring-flowering trees and shrubs now. Do not prune summer-blooming shrubs, or you'll prune off flower buds. Wait until after they bloom.

Deadhead(remove spent flowers) to tidy up your flowering plants and encourage them to bloom more. Many annuals - such as petunias, cosmos, dianthus, dahlias, zinnias and geraniums - will stop blooming if allowed to go to seed. Others, such as impatiens and flowering vinca, clean themselves and do not need to be deadheaded.

Your pansies a will soon look scraggly, if they don't already. There's nothing you can do to prevent it, short of moving them to Vermont. They simply don't do well in heat. Replace them with warm weather annuals for the summer, then plant new pansies in the fall. Pansies will usually survive the winter and come back for a great display next spring.

Cut spiderwort back to the ground when it finishes blooming and looks ugly. It will send up new shoots and bloom again later in the summer. Perennial geraniums also benefit from being cut back when they get leggy. (Do not cut back the big showy annual geraniums; if you're not sure what you have, just ask us!)

Fertilize annuals with a water soluble fertilizer every two weeks unless you added a time release fertilizer to your plantings.

Pinch back mums and asters and feed with an all purpose water soluble fertilizer for showy flowers in the fall.

Four lined plant bugs are feeding, especially on mint. Nymphs are bright red; adults are yellowish green with four black stripes. They leave rows of small round dark spots. Plants typically grow out - remove unsightly leaves and wait them out, or if infestation is bad, spray with 'Take Down' Canola oil/Pyrethrin combination spray.

Spring-blooming perennials that need to be divided can be dug and divided now - the sooner the better.

Avoid applying fertilizers, fungicides, insecticides and weed killers when temperatures rise above 85 degrees. Damage may occur to plants at high temperatures. Please read and follow all label directions before application (an excellent idea, even when temperatures are below 85 degrees).

Don't let slugs ruin your garden. Treat flower beds, perennial beds, even vegetable gardens with a slug control.

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Cover ripening berries with netting to protect your crop from the birds.

Don't let basil or other culinary herbs flower; flowering changes the taste. Pinch back the top leaves to prevent flowering and promote bush plants. Herbs are best harvested in the morning - cut the stems, then strip off the leaves. To dry herbs, hang branches in a cool, dark place.

Herbs such as dill, fennel, cilantro and cress go to seed in hot weather. Plants in part shade may last a little longer. Replant in late summer when the weather begins to cool.

Watch for cabbage worms (velvety green caterpillars) on broccoli and cabbage . Spray or dust with Bt, a bacteria that kills caterpillars but is not toxic to humans or insects. To harvest broccoli, cut the main head with some of the stalk, but leave the rest of the plant and fertilize it. Many varieties produce 'sideshoots' (smaller broccoli heads) well into the summer.

HOUSE PLANTS

Begin to fertilize your houseplants with a water soluble fertilizer for maximum growth over the summer months.

Give potbound houseplants a new home. Remember, only move up one or two pot sizes. Use clean containers and fresh potting soil.

Most houseplants are tropical plants that long for the rainforest. They benefit from summer's humidity, so bring them outside for the summer if you can. Check your houseplants frequently for water when they are outside. They dry out faster than when they are kept inside. And, on the opposite end, make sure they have drainage so that summer showers don't drown them.

When watering Boston ferns or any fern that has a full soft crown (top), lift up the fronds and water from underneath, or submerge the plant in a bucket of water. Otherwise, the weight of the water can easily break down the crown.

Orchids can come outside for the summer in filtered sun or shade. Keep them up off the ground so that slugs and other critters will be less likely to move in. A covered porch which allows them to benefit from the humidity while allowing you to control watering is ideal.

IN THE POND

You should have been feeding your fish for a month by now. Try and shade the pond, if possible, to reduce the growth of algae. I haven't found any algicide that actually works. Barley straw, Algae Fix don't work for me. Shade is the answer. I put in a lot of floating plants like water hyacinth and water lettuce. Once they get going and produce new plants my pond gets a lot of shade and the pond remains clear. I don't endorse particular products, but I have found the Laguna Pond chemicals (which are actually enzymes and bacteria) do a good job of reducing phosphates, nitrates, biological sludge (fish waste) and improve water clarity. What works for me may not work for others.

For more tips and information go to the Buckeye Yard and Garden Newletter at:

Buckeye Yard and Garden Newletter



Good Luck and Good Gardening To You!

Stu Lewis, Web Master
Hilliard Area Garden Club